Monday, December 15, 2014

Designer Profile: Lotta Groeger

As part of the 2014 Gift-A-Long on Ravelry, I am having fun interviewing several other indie designers. My second interview is Lotta Groeger, whose user name is Atalante on Ravelry. She has published in a number of places, including Knitty:

You can see all Gift-A-Long patterns and designers and goings-on at the Gift-A-Long group on

Here is Lotta's Tron shawl.

(If you don't have a Ravelry account, sign up. It's free and easy!)

Book lovers will love Lotta's Reading Mitten. (See the books?)

Lotta is from Germany, which gives me a special affinity for her since one of my late grandmothers was from there. Her designs have a strong graphic quality, which I absolutely love! 

One of my favorite designs from her is one that I already shared on Facebook, Das Wauldhaus, which is available cuff down or my obviously favorite way, toe up!

I love the free-form scribbles. (This pattern is part of a terrific collection.)

Now that you are properly inspired, let's talk to her!

Let’s start at the beginning. When did you begin knitting—and why? What captivated you about it?
I did learn to knit as a child, but only ever the knit stitch. I never got the hang of it, and it took me years to finish a garter-stitch scarf. I relearned in my second semester at the university. There were several reasons I started. I needed something I could carry around and work on between lectures or while commuting. The I found the Coraline cardigan from Ysolda  Teague online. My mother can knit but her English is not good enough to work from an English pattern. And it was the beginning of autumn, so there was a lot of knit items around.
So I went to a store, bought some 4mm DPNs and cotton yarn--at least I skipped acrylic!--and went online to learn.
As people get better at what they do, they learn more and more with practice. Your designs are wonderfully creative! What have you done over the years to get better at designing? 
Oh a lot. When I look back at my first version of my first pattern--ouch! I have changed the layout at least twice since the beginning; now I'm happy with the look. I started using a charting program, something I didn't even know existed when starting. I now have a tech editor and use test knitters, and the best compliment is that I have returning testers! I even sometimes use a professional model who for example stars in a cinema commercial here in Berlin. It's great to have friends with cool jobs!
A relatively new thing for me is grading garments. I just finished the pattern for my first sweater; for that I took a class on grading.
How do you go about coming up with ideas for your work?
I get a lot of my ideas from just talking to my knitting friends. I have a great knit meeting, and the girls are really supportive of my designing. If you look at my shawl Juliane, that design started when the lace queen of my knit meeting asked for a Faroese style shawl with cables, beads and lace. 
Another great inspiration for me are comic books and fairy tales. I'm a major geek when it comes to comic books, and after bouncing some ideas with a friend on twitter I now have enough design ideas in my little note book to fill two collections. 
What kinds of knitters do you envision knitting your designs?
I have to say, nearly all my designs aren't for the beginner knitter. I like technique and patterns that keep me entertained even when I have made more then enough swatches and drawn the chart. 
I hope that my designs are geeky enough for people like me, but still "normal" enough for knitters who aren't obsessed with superheros or Doctor Who. I design with me and my knit meeting in mind. 
I would assume that it’s true for everyone that one’s environment helps one create with their creative vision. You live in Germany. What is around you, and what kind of influence does that have on your work?
Well the two fairy tale collections I did where influenced by the brothers Grimm books and my favorite tales. 
The winters, with temperatures down to -20°C, are one of the reasons I design a lot of fingerless mittens. Ok maybe fingerless is not the best option with -20°C, but I still have to be able to knit on the U- and S-Bahn here.
And with Berlin being a street-fashion hot spot, I get a lot of great ideas while just walking the streets. You see a knitted item and want to incorporate that one interesting stitch pattern into something different, or a really cool commercial stocking I have to just make into a hand-knitted knee high.
If you could pick one or two favorites from your work, what would they be and why?
Cruel question! Because it's getting cold outside, I carry my Das Waldhaus Mitten around everywhere; they are warm and they bring a nice burst of color to my outfit.
And I love my Juliane shawl
I made it from one of the first yarns I spun on my spindle. Lace, cables and beads: As I mentioned above, I'm a technique freak when knitting, and still it's a pattern that just flew from the needles. And keeps me warm outside!
Thank you for such a feast of color and pattern, Lotta! We will all keep watching for new things from you!

No comments:

Post a Comment